Get over Zuma and just be glad we've got Cyril
Everything is not hunky dory, but Ramaphosa is fixing what Zuma broke and he deserves our support
Back in 2013 researchers at Yale University in the US used various experiments to test small babies’ attitudes towards good and evil. After extensive research the results suggested that even the youngest humans have a sense of right and wrong. More important, babies had an instinct to prefer good over evil.
Over the past few months I have wondered about this experiment and some South Africans’ responses towards positive events. What is it that makes so many of us doubt the good, for example, when it finally presents itself before us? Why are there so many of our fellow compatriots, like ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who hanker after the South Africa that embarrassed us all before December 2017?
Why are so many among us incapable of seeing and celebrating the good and the positive that is now possible if we do the right things?It has been five months since Cyril Ramaphosa became ANC president at the party’s conference in December 2017. It has been just more than 100 days since he was sworn in as president of the republic in February.
As his 100 days in office have come around, reams of newsprint and verbiage have been produced about how well – or badly – he has done. Many have condemned Ramaphosa as weak, as indecisive, as a leader destined for annihilation by his own party. The plethora of positive actions he has taken, as opposed to the daily diet of thievery that preceded him, is dismissed as just not good enough.
Seeing this, I confess that I have a fear that one day we will look back at this period and be ashamed at our failure to grasp the nettle and help change this country for the better. And why will we have failed? Because after being brutalised for 10 years by the Jacob Zuma ANC, we have failed to recognise that a new politics, a new ethos, has taken over at the helm of the party and the country.
Now, before you start shouting that I have gone soft, let me just say that Ramaphosa is a politician: he must be held to account by people like me at every turn. He must not get a free pass. It would be sacrilege to let misdeeds that happen on his watch go without being called out.
Slowly fixing things
Yet, let us not be churlish, either. Ramaphosa has fired Zuma and, for those who said he is indecisive, kicked Supra Mahumapelo out of the North West premiership. Since Ramaphosa appointed a new cabinet we have seen numerous positive developments. The clean-up at state-owned enterprises by Pravin Gordhan is fantastic and every revelation shows you just what corrupt idiots we tolerated under Zuma. How in the world could Lynne Brown have been allowed to even smell up a minister’s office?
Everything that Zuma and his cronies broke, Ramaphosa has begun to fix. Slowly, yes, but it is being done. The Hawks, which Zuma birthed by destroying the Scorpions with villainous glee back in 2008 so that they wouldn’t send him to jail, finally have a capable new head. People of merit and integrity are finally beginning to breathe at the SA Revenue Service. More shall come.
Again, this is not to say everything is now hunky dory. It’s definitely not. Zuma’s cronies broke local municipalities with alacrity. This week Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu said only 33 of the total 257 municipalities in South Africa could produce quality financial statements. Irregular expenditure at municipalities has almost doubled in the past financial year. Irregular expenditure is now at R28.4-billion across all municipalities, due to “glaring governance, leadership and oversight lapses”.
What this says is that we are still very much in trouble. Yet, it also shows that our entire country should be joining Ramaphosa as he tries to turn the pendulum against his many corrupt fellow comrades. Business, NGOs and civil society bodies have a massive role to play now.
The choice is simple: to join in with the glimmer of good that has emerged within the ANC and turn the country around, or sit on the sidelines and moan without proffering solutions.
A hundred days in, Ramaphosa still deserves our positivity.